How Much Homework Should Your Child Do?

Homework can often be a big point of contention during the school year. This is frequently due to the fact that students may not really understand the purpose of their homework assignments or have so many after school activities scheduled that they’re left with very little free time. Overwhelming work loads can also cause them to resent their at-home assignments, so it’s important that they understand the value and purpose of homework. Communication with your child’s teachers about homework concerns is key to helping maintain an appropriate balance.
Understanding the purpose of the homework your child is assigned can help make the assignments meaningful, and therefore reduce the amount of loathing your child feels for them. When assigned appropriately, homework can be a valuable tool for your child’s education.

What’s the intention?
There are generally three intentions for homework assignments; practice, preparation, or extension. When assigned within these three categories, homework ceases to be something extra teachers assign just because they feel like it and becomes something relevant and purposeful.

As extra practice, it becomes an opportunity for your student to see what they’re capable of doing on their own and assess how far they’ve come towards mastering the current skills. As preparation, it helps them assess their readiness for upcoming assessments. When used as an extension, it allows students who have mastered the current skills to test the waters of upcoming or more advanced topics. If your child understands these intentions, it can make the homework completion task much less trying.

How much homework should they do?
During the practice stage your child is just beginning to learn a skill, and may have more homework assignments than during the preparation stage when they’re frequently just asked to study what they’ve already learned and practiced. A general rule of thumb that many educators go by is about ten minutes of homework per grade. So a first grader would have ten minutes, which would increase to twenty minutes in second grade. Some teachers rarely assign homework, and others assign it more frequently. It all depends on your child’s grade level and the needs of each subject area.

How You Can Help
Keeping in mind that homework has different intentions can help you to feel more equipped to support your child as they’re completing these assignments. The key to helping with homework, is to support your child’s autonomy and the purpose of the assignments.

Regardless of intention, every homework assignment is a way for your child’s teacher to assess your child’s progress. This means that you should provide as little interference and guidance as possible. Resist the urge to correct their assignment or do it for them. Your child’s teacher can learn just as much from incorrect answers as correct ones, and it’s difficult to use an assignment as an accurate assessment when you don’t know how much is the child’s work and how much is the parent’s.

Understanding the importance of balancing high academic standards with the joys of childhood is one of our priorities at St. Barnabas Episcopal School. This is why our teachers strive to make every assignment meaningful and engaging. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a tour.

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